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Preview: The banged-up Hornets face the oft-injured Clippers

Both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George may (or may not) suit up in a game featuring two NBA MASH units.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (7-16) versus Los Angeles Clippers (13-11)

When: 7:00 pm EST

Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

If you love watching injured NBA superstars sitting courtside in street clothes, have we got the game for you!

The Hornets and the Clippers could potentially field an All-Star MASH unit tonight with the lingering absences of LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George. Throw in other injuries to guys like Cody Martin, Dennis Smith Jr., and Mark Williams for the Hornets and Norman Powell and Luke Kennard for the Clips, and this game could end up with ball boys suiting up.

Los Angeles Clippers overview

Kawhi Leonard has played in five games this year. Paul George has missed eight of 24 Clippers games, or a third of the season. But is anybody really surprised? Leonard and George are as good as they are fragile, which is an inconvenient truth that seems to temper the Clippers upside every year. Both players were questionable to play on Saturday but were held out, so we’ll need to wait and see if they suit up tonight.

The rest of Los Angeles’s roster is rounded out by veteran point guards Reggie Jackson and John Wall, wings Norman Powell (day-to-day) and Terance Mann, power forward Marcus Morris Sr., and center Ivica Zubac. Former Hornet Nic Batum plays a reserve role as does the versatile but unspectacular Robert Covington.

Just to illustrate how unstable the Clippers have been this year because of injury, here’s the list of their leading scorers over their last six games: Brandon Boston Jr., John Wall (twice), Norman Powell, Ivica Zubac, and Marcus Morris Sr. Next man up, I guess.

The Clippers are coming off a 27-point shellacking at home against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, so this team’s vulnerable.

How the Hornets can win

Speaking of vulnerable…nothing’s coming easy for the 2022-23 Charlotte Hornets. We all know the injury issues. We all know it will be tough sledding from here to even get the No. 10 seed and make the play-in tournament, so “success” right now is more about player development than just wins and losses.

One player who can take a step forward tonight is PJ Washington, especially offensively. Before going 0-for-13 for zero points in his last game, PJ had scored at least 13 points in eight straight games. Washington’s offensive game has been up and down throughout his career and the Hornets need it to be “up” against the Clippers.

Progress is also occurring with forward Jalen McDaniels and center Nick Richards. McDaniels has averaged a solid 13.5 points and 4.3 rebounds over his last six games. Richards, meanwhile, has emerged as a valuable contributor in his third NBA season with averages of 9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

The ailing Hornets can usually count on 20 points from Terry Rozier and Kelly Oubre Jr., so the focus tonight will be on contributions from PJ Washington, Jalen McDaniels, and Nick Richards.

Fortunately for the Hornets, the Clippers are ailing, too. Get ready for a war of attrition.